Wednesday, 14 October 2009

AUTO HEADLINES: IN THE NEWS

Peer pressure putting unprepared young drivers at greater risk on UK roads

Peer pressure, not wearing seatbelts and poor training are all major factors in the numbers of young drivers killed on the nation’s roads, according to new research by insurance giant Aviva.

A third of 17-21-year-olds admitted to driving differently when they have more than one friend in the car.

The research took an in-depth look at young motorists’ behaviour and their attitudes to driving in a bid to better understand why they drive the way they do.

And the findings help to explain why young driver deaths and accidents are declining more slowly than all other driver groups’ year on year, according to The Department for Transport 2008 statistics, says Aviva.

The results reveal that young drivers are dangerously influenced by peer pressure when driving with friends in the car, with:

* One in five (21%) paying less attention to the road
* A quarter (24%) taking their hands off the wheel
* 15% performing illegal driving manoeuvres.

The report also highlights that some young drivers are unprepared for driving, with one in 10 (9%) admitting that they wouldn’t have awarded themselves a licence when they passed their test.

According to the young drivers questioned, one in four (27%) only had paid driving lessons with no practice time and even more worrying is that the results indicate that some driving schools may be priming students to merely pass their test, with one in five (19%) young drivers having only practiced on the driving test route with their instructor, it is claimed.

Nigel Bartram, Aviva motoring expert, said: “Young drivers remain the age group with the highest proportion of insurance claims, accidents and fatalities on our roads.”

The largest proportion of Aviva claims costs for young drivers are for injuries rather than vehicle damage with 58% of the cost of all young driver claims consisting of personal injury costs, mainly to friends of the young driver being carried as passengers.

“In order to reduce these statistics young drivers and passengers alike need to take personal responsibility for their own actions - this means wearing a seatbelt at all times regardless of who is in the car, driving with fewer passengers and not conforming to peer pressure whilst behind the wheel,” said Mr Bartram.

“If young drivers take this advice on board and drive more responsibly we have every reason to expect the number of claims will reduce and claims costs will fall. If we see reduction in our claims costs for young drivers we expect that our premiums for younger drivers should fall in line with this.” (Aviva: October 13).